Food for Thought
Published on 6/2/16
ITC partnership with the Syracuse University Shaw Center for Public and Community Service was recently highlighted in the Shaw Center’s Impact Report for 2013-2015.
“The newest initiative developed in partnership with Falk faculty and students is Food Busters, a program that engages high school students at the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central (ITC) in hands-on lessons exploring the relationships among food, nutrition, and health to increasestudents’ literacy, mathematics, and science comprehension. The idea for Food Busters stemmed from a response from Shaw Center leadership interns to the Clinton Global Initiative’s challenge to improve literacy skills and public health awareness. Modeled after the Books & Cooks program and the popular TV show Myth Busters, Food Busters was recognized as a “Commitment to Action” at the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative University Conference.
In fall 2014, program coordinators Victoria Seager ’14, G’15 and Katelyn Castro ’15 arranged planning meetings with a forensics teacher and a culinary teacher at ITC, Shaw Center staff, nutrition students, and Falk College faculty to develop STEM- and nutrition-focused lessons that align with Common Core and New York State curriculum standards. The program was piloted with interdisciplinary math, science, and nutrition lessons and food science experiments in spring 2015 by Victoria, Katelyn, and seven trained nutrition volunteers. They worked with 50 ITC students in small groups, establishing an intimate setting that allowed volunteers to engage students in the experiments.
According to Ann Marie Furcinito, the ITC forensics teacher who partnered with the Shaw Center in this effort, her students at ITC “absolutely loved” having the Syracuse University students offer lessons at their school. “The quality of instruction was excellent and the Syracuse University students were wonderful,” says Furcinito, who is a New York State Master Teacher. “They prepared lesson plans, PowerPoints, and worksheets in a very superior and impressive manner.” Benefits to ITC students extended beyond the content of the lessons themselves, Furcinito says. “Being exposed to college students and interacting with them was extremely valuable to my students. Everyone at the Shaw Center really was a pleasure to work with, and we hope to continue that same association in the future,” she says.”